Bhubaneswar/Balasore: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has now lashed out at Balasore Collector and others who were part of a special committee formed by the tribunal to examine the allegations of illegal sand mining along the Subarnarekha river for their alleged lax attitude in complying with its earlier order.
The tribunal bench comprising Justice B Amit Sthalekar and Saibal Dasgupta as expert member in their court order hinted that there had been some deliberate concealment of facts.
It also granted the committee one last opportunity and threatened the panel with criminal action if the earlier order of the tribunal were not complied with.
The case was related to allegations of illegal sand mining at Jaleswar area in the district along the Subarnarekha river.
The NGT in its earlier order January 21 had directed for formation of a four-member committee comprising members from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) and State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) and the District Magistrate of Balasore.
“We have seen the report of the joint committee starting from page 224 of the paper book. We find the report to be very sketchy and devoid of facts at a number of places…We are of the view that there is some deliberate concealment of facts…” the NGT order said.
“We find that the District Magistrate was a member of the core committee which was required to submit its report, but it is to the discredit of the then District Magistrate that a report should have been submitted expressing his inability to determine the amount of illegal sand excavated causing loss to the state revenue and rampant damage to the environment,” the order said.
The tribunal also expressed its displeasure against the panel over the non determination of the monetary value of the damage caused to the environment due to the alleged illegal sand mining.
It also attacked the panel for not collecting the royalty despite a report of the tehsildar on the matter. The NGT in its written order has also warned the panel of criminal action in case of defiance and gave the panel one more chance to work on their report.
“We, therefore, grant the committee one more opportunity to submit a fresh comprehensive report to avoid any criminal action being initiated by the tribunal. This fresh comprehensive report shall be filed positively by the next date of listing,” the NGT order said.
The NGT earlier in another case had also warned the Khurda Collector of criminal proceedings for his alleged non-compliance of tribunal orders.